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Author Topic: The Planner, The Writer, and The Editor  (Read 358 times)

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Offline MahluaandMilk

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The Planner, The Writer, and The Editor
« on: November 26, 2018, 06:36:45 PM »
Welp, I just made a handy little discovery (as unfortunate and stressful as I'm sure it was, megaWHOOPS). Upon making this discovery through a collaborative project I've been a part of, I've started to understand quite a bit more about my writing process, and I think some of the nuances of that process could be helpful for other writers (and maybe artists) out there.

The main bulk of it is that as an individual writer, I tend to assign myself into one of three positions. There's the Planner, Writer, and Editor. I have to switch among them frequently throughout the time it takes to complete a work.

The Planner writes the outline and broods over the plot at large, and serves as the initiator in a lot of ways. I can spend ages in the planning stages. Ideas formulate on the back burner for a long time before I have enough of the pieces for the Planner to link them together and hand it off to the Writer to execute.

The Writer then takes those little seeds and plants them along in "scenes". I call them scenes, but they can really last anywhere from about 200 words to almost 2,000. The point of a "scene" to me is that the Writer completes one of the tasks set out by the Planner and fills in any necessary blanks for the sake of keeping the story going.

And then there's the Editor. At the end of the chapter, there's general proofreading that needs to happen, of course, but the Editor's biggest headache comes when the Writer has really finished a piece. The Editor looks back over the Planner's notes and ensures all the steps have been made and makes note of where the Writer diverged from the script and the Planner had to rewrite.

I haven't really realized that this was my system because there are so few pieces that I've completed that are lengthy. In fact, until recently, I had never really written a chapter much over 2,000 words. Reset, my current in-progress story on Ecchiworld, has just broken over 30,000 words and has become the longest fic I've ever worked on individually. Somewhere along the lines, my Planner and Writer had a falling out, and I know that once I'm finished with it, the Editor will have to rewrite and polish it up again, maybe a few different times, until I'd ever be truly happy with it, let alone hypothetically sending it to a publisher (not that I would, since it's MRverse, and I consider that stuff Creative Commons). The other thing that brought this to light was that I'm currently a part of a collaborative project, and I may have utilized this method for a large section of writing and gotten a few things out of order. It was confusing for everyone involved, I think.

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The main thing I'd like writers to take away from all this is this: Don't feel like you have to be Planner, Writer, and Editor all at the same time.

Or, in other words: don't feel like your first draft has to be the perfect outcome. First drafts are supposed to be crap. I know that can be hard to break out of. It was for me, but gods bless my English professors at Uni...But seriously, man. You can always go back. Just because I rarely actually go back and work on the things and let my Editor be the Editor doesn't mean that it's not possible.

Trying to make things perfect the first time around by letting the Planner and Editor meddle in the Writer's business will more than likely grind your progress to a halt. These personas conflict, a lot. Of course, don't let it be too loosey-goosey either, or you might wind up with more work for all three parties. Discipline can be learned for keeping the Writer on the Planner's tasks, and for the Editor to not throw everything out and make the Writer re-write everything. Balance is the key.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2018, 06:46:03 PM by MahluaandMilk »

Offline suuper-san

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Re: The Planner, The Writer, and The Editor
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2018, 10:02:48 AM »
very cool and nice to hear how your process works.
I think it's very similar for me with my art, I often find that I'm producing really expressive but messy sketches, or really boring but super tidy artworks, because my "mode" is switching between "Creative" and "Serious".
Quote
Don't feel like you have to be Planner, Writer, and Editor all at the same time.
Thats a great bit of advice. I think the trouble might be where you find it difficult to be one of those stages, like you have to wait for the day that you "feel like being a writer".
I find it very hard to switch at the right time between my sketches and my inking, and often my piece has several inking styles mixed in as I switched over , or didn't switch at all :P In fact, that's one of the things I'm working on actively at the moment, being able to switch attitudes at will, as it were.
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Online KeanFox

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Re: The Planner, The Writer, and The Editor
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2018, 04:54:12 PM »
Helpful read :thumbsup:

Offline CookiePanda

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Re: The Planner, The Writer, and The Editor
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2018, 11:34:51 PM »
I am the same way! Though I have to say that I spend far too much time in the planning stage ... It's easy to get lost in the development of your world. I'm currently working on not over-planning too much. My writer stage needs the most help. I'm terrified of dialogue and far too comfortable with narration... I've done editing all of my life and is probably the stage that I enjoy the most.

What do you guys do whenever you find yourself stuck in one stage for too long? I tend to make a list of goals/tasks that I need to complete so I can stay focused instead of running off on my own.

Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: The Planner, The Writer, and The Editor
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2018, 11:49:28 AM »
Have you tried working on an entirely different segment of the story? I know it can be a weird thing to break, but there's no steadfast rule that says "thou must write thine stories in chronological order". For me personally, though, taking a short break doing something completely different helps, whether that break is fifteen minutes or a few days. Enough to hard refresh my brain away from that one thing in the story that's eating up my time.

Offline CookiePanda

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Re: The Planner, The Writer, and The Editor
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2018, 03:07:57 PM »
I've actually recently started writing scenes that come to mind regardless of chronological order. It has been helping to keep me motivated though it can be challenging to figure out where in the story that particular scene fits. I think it is helpful that my current story also has One shots that focus on characters other than the main character. It gives me plenty of mini projects to distract myself with if I find myself stuck.

Originally, this story was a video game concept (rpg with visual novel elements). I decided to adapt it into the form of a manga for my boyfriend since he has always wanted to draw one of my stories. With the adaptation in Manga and sticking to just one linear story line, it has caused me to minimize the amount of characters that are actually influential to that story. I still might end up adapting it into the game so I'm doing the character profiles for all of the characters that exist in the world and working on their own stories whenever I have difficulties with the main story.

Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: The Planner, The Writer, and The Editor
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2018, 04:23:02 PM »
That's where discipline comes in, I believe. It's an unfortunate and frustrating part of any creative process, since it tends to hinder flow no matter how disciplined you'd like to be. There comes a point when you're working on a project where you just wanna get it done. You can keep expanding outwards and think of all these amazing oneshots and character highlights and everything like that, but, my advice is that if you want to finish the project, the first step is figuring out what the major steps are to completing one arc of a plot. All the other fun stuff can come afterwards at its own pace, and I'm sure even when you're working on those, more ideas will keep coming up.

That was pretty much my problem with when I tried to put all of my characters into one cohesive universe with a timeline. In my head, I understand how it works out, but man, I set myself up for way too much work, so I had to pretty much shut down the entire idea of going through with that project, which kinda sucks, since now I have about 120 characters that are kinda just marker burn on pages at this point. It's not like I can never go back to it, but I'd have to consolidate a lot, and really break things down. Even then, I just spent way too much time thinking about that kind of thing. Character oneshots and other stories, I mean.

To get my discipline up, I've been working on shorter stories for like MRverse and some YouTube show scripts for my Kingdom Hearts cosplay group. Because they involve different people and an active audience, it holds me a lot more liable to get things done. I'm not really allowed to quit, so to speak. That's been a big mental breakthrough for me. Dunno if that will help you much, though, since we seem to have very different goals in mind.

Offline Coryn

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Re: The Planner, The Writer, and The Editor
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2018, 10:27:11 PM »
Honestly that's the danger of doodling characters. When they're all just in your head, it's a lot harder to look at them and start thinking up different things for them to do.

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